The Bartlett School of Planning

Dr Catalina Turcu

Dr Catalina Turcu

Senior Lecturer

The Bartlett School of Planning

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2010

Research summary

Unique researcher ID (ORCID): 0000-0003-2663-2586

My work and research interests sit at the intersection between urban and sustainability studies, with long-standing expertise on housing, energy and indicators, and emerging expertise on urban health. I am particularly interested in the social and governance aspects of the built environment and I mainly draw on political, social and planning theory. Methodologically, I work with both quantitative and qualitative methods of research and favour mixed-method research designs.

I am currently working on two interdisciplinary and international research projects: Urban Densification and Housing in London and Stockholm (2018-2010) funded by the Centre for Future Places at Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) and Greater London Authority (UK); and CUSSH Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health (2018 – 2021) funded by the Welcome Trust (UK).

I am also interested in policy applications of my research and work closely with cities in Europe, especially in the UK, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, but also China, Australia and the US. I am an URBACT Expert and regularly advise on OECD, World Bank and UN Habitat commissions. For example, I led OECD’s work on the decarbonisation of the residential sector through a well-being lens (2019), and advised on World Bank’s Framework for Urban Sustainability (2018). I sit on research evaluation panels for FORMAS (Sweden); Nordfosk (Nordic Council of Ministers); ESRC, EPSRC and UKERC (UK); and ERC (EU).

Teaching summary

My teaching philosophy sits on the dialogue between theory and application/ studio work. As an example, the sustainable urban development specialism that I am teaching at UCL draws on the Capstone approach, whereby students work closely with a ‘client’/ city to deliver a long-term-large-scale sustainable urban plan under academic supervision.

I have also directed and shaped the MSc in Sustainable Urbanism at UCL since 2012, and supervised six doctoral students to date. I am regularly invited to give plenary speeches at conferences, and lectured at Oxford University, London School of Economics, Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology, Gothenburg University, TU Delft, Columbia University and Harvard Postgraduate School of Design.

I currently teach at the postgraduade level and convene the following modules:

     BPLN0058 Sustainable Urban Development: Key Themes

     BPLN0059 Sustainable Urban Development: Project

     BPLN0052 Major Research Project

I have also lectured on Governance for Urban Sustainability: Key Debates (UCL, postgrad); Green Futures (UCL, undergrad); Making cities: the production of the built environment (UCL, undergrad); Urban Poverty and Social Exclusion (LSE, undergrad); International Housing and Social Change (LSE, postgrad); Urban and Planning Policy (UAUIM, undergrad); Public Administration and Urban Management (UAUIM, postgrad); Building Materials and Specification (UAUIM, undergrad).


University College London
PGCLTHE, Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional) | 2014
London School of Economics and Political Science
PhD, Social and Political Sciences | 2010
London School of Economics and Political Science
MSc, Housing | 2001
Universitatea din Bucuresti
MAST, Architecture and Urbanism | 1999
Universitatea din Bucuresti
DipArch, Architecture | 1996
Universitatea din Bucuresti
B.Arch, Architecture | 1993


I am Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Sustainable Development and Planning at The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, UK. I hold degrees in public policy (PhD, LSE), housing (MSc, LSE), urbanism (MA, UAUIM) and architecture (BArch DipArch, UAUIM). Prior to joining the academia, I have worked as a qualified architect for 10 years in the UK, Italy and Romania.